The Hollow Man Poem Analysis

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The transition from Victorianism to modernism and the trauma of World War I challenged not only the cultural notions but also put to bars the political, social and regional ideologies prevalent in the society. In the times when traditional authorities, both regional and political, were overthrown due to new reforms such as communism and secularism, the artists begin to contemplate the romantic literary ideal of poetry as an instrument to make reforms. While the aftereffects of World War I directly contributed to the termination of the British Empire. Europe lost an entire generation of young men to the horrors of World War 1, causing a general crisis as survivors struggled to find their place in a fundamentally altered society. The Modernist…show more content…
There is an absence of any sort of illustrative recollection to comprehend the reason that has lead to the speaker descending into misery. Moreover the foundation on which this past exists is also not related to individual struggle but instead is a united agony. A sense of collectiveness is visible in the poem as the persona who speaks, states it in the first person plural for all of the hollow men. “We are the hollow men…we are the stuffed men.” Making it a united struggle the poem opens on a note of despair and hopelessness as they stand “leaning together” having lost their ability to stand on their own. With dried voices they “whisper together” scared to voice out their opinion. The hollow men living in a world of fractured images and symbols are afraid to look at people or to be looked at. The speaker’s inability of facing “the eyes” resembles Tiresias’s state after the Hyacinth garden scene. “Eyes” hereby become an important element showing the fear of social gaze embedded in the minds of the hollow men. “Dare no meet in dreams” Images of eyes and sight also become symbolic of insight, vision, perception and intimacy, the speakers yearning for the presence of eyes and concurrent fear from the eyes projects the hollow men’s physical, emotional and spiritual yearning. Further the contrast of the “fading star” of “death’s dream kingdom with the “perpetual star” also suggests the hollow men’s longing for some relief to uplift them from their despairing position. The actuality of the hollow men’s lethal state is presented through an image of hopeless circularity. “ Here we go around the prickly pear/ prickly pear prickly pear.” The “prickly pear” can be seen as an appropriate representation of desolation and sterility around which pointless and vain action are held. It also seems to suggest the hollow following of old practices that

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